Wakefield Wins Roberto Clemente Award
By Brian Phair
Every year, the MLB awards the Roberto Clemente Award to 1 player for “displaying a commitment to the community and understanding the value of helping others.” Tim Wakefield was awarded this honor before game 2 of the World Series and he could not be more deserving. Wake has always been an example in the community for other players by getting involved in the Boston and Florida communities in both monetary ways and with an extreme time commitment to causes like the Jimmy Fund. Wake’s heart is devoted to doing everything he can to help others, so when each team needed to nominate 1 player for this award, he was a no-brainer and has been for years. This certainly isn’t the 1st time Wake has been recognized for his efforts and undoubtedly won’t be the last, but it is arguably the biggest. He won the Giamatti Award in January of 2010 for his community contributions, but for him, being recognized for his off-the-field contributions never gets old. (more after the jump)
"It’s important to give back to the community that supports you on a daily basis on the field, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been nominated so many times. It’s still an honor. I don’t care how many times you do it. It’s an honor to get recognized for the things that you do off the field. – Tim Wakefield on winning the Roberto Clemente Award"
Every season Wakefield puts his money where his mouth is and makes as many, if not more appearances in the community than any of his teammates. He is involved with the Wakefield Warriors program that invites children from the Franciscan Hospital and the Jimmy Fund onto the field once a week to watch batting practice and has also helped raise over $700,000 to refurbish the hospital. On top of that, Wake has been extremely involved in the Space Coast Early Intervention Center, a non-profit therapeutic pre-school program for children with special needs in Melbourne, FL where he resides in the off-season. His contributions don’t begin in April and end in October, he is a true example of the impact a high-profile athlete can have in his or her community throughout the entire year.
"First of all, I’d like to thank Bud and Major League Baseball, obviously Chevrolet, but more importantly the Roberto Clemente family, especially Mrs. Clemente for carrying on your late husband’s legacy. It really means a lot to me.I told you earlier coming up with the Pirate organization I got to witness first-hand what his legacy really meant, and I’ve tried to continue that into Boston and I’m very proud to accept this award tonight. I feel very blessed. There were 29 other guys that were nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, but also there’s hundreds and hundreds of other guys that do a lot of work for each club. And I know with our club in Boston there’s 24 other guys that do a lot of charity work.So I feel very honored not only to be nominated but to win the award. Thank you again, and I will definitely honor this award very proudly. Thank you. – Tim Wakefield’s acceptance speech"
Not much more needs to be said besides congratulations. Wake deserves to be recognized for all of his efforts and be praised for doing the right thing with his status in the community. Baseball players are role-models whether they want to be or not. Unfortunately, there are few too many examples of dedication and connection to the community on top of the generous financial support in professional sports. For that, I will always respect Tim Wakefield and consider him to be a strong role-model for children and adults who look up to professional athletes. Thank you, Tim and keep up the great work.